Neale Blewett reviews Robert Manne’s volume The Howard Years bq. Nearly every evaluation comes down on the negative side. It is, of course, an élitist view: the contributors are all eminent figures in their fields of expertise. Given the Abbottian view of élites, this may, for some, be sufficient reason to dismiss the book. But for those not misled in this way, these essays provide an absorbing and sobering assessment of our present rulers. (“Australian Book Review”:http://home.vicnet.net.au/~abr/March04/Blewett.htm) The principal line of criticism through the different essays is that the Howard’s pragmatic conservative government has secured power without ideals or even ideas. Blewett concludes, however, that Manne paints—perhaps unwillingly—a picture of a ‘formidable political strategist’.